Kingsley Coman was on hand to lead the Bayern to a strong 3:1 win against stubborn Hannover 96 on Saturday while Bundesliga rivals dropped points.
After a lacklustre first half, the young Frenchman played a hefty part in attack, creating chances from crosses and passing excellently. Coman is fast and he knows it. The winger sped past wing-backs like the Flash, and it was just beautiful to watch, coupled with some tasty dribbles. He bagged a fantastic second goal of the season after taking a sublime first touch after a deflected cross from Thomas Müller, smashing a left-footed effort into the net to give Bayern a deserved (and relieving) second-half lead. I’m tempted to write more about his fantastic display, but just drink this in for now.
Arturo Vidal took Jupp Heynckes’ criticism and turned his performances around in the space of a few weeks. The warrior now has three goals in his last three league matches, and it’s his best-ever run. He was his usual self, breaking up play along with Javi Martinez for a solid midfield. He fell into a more defensive role after Javi was taken off for Coco Tolisso in the second half, but I was more than impressed with how he still managed to help out in the attack, even taking long-range shots that troubled the Hannover goalkeeper.
Oh, how I have missed you Thomas! M¨uller returnedtoo the starting lineup with a smashing performance. With just 24 minutes played, he had proven that he can take up right-wing even better than we expected. He assisted Arturo Vidal with a great cross for him to head past the keeper. At many times, though, his return was marred by unnecessary assist-attempts, passing when he should clearly be scoring.
Coco was a super-sub today, coming on to replace Javi Martinez. At a time when Bayern needed a second goal, he came on and immediately had a glancing header saved. He afterwards assisted the attack with frequent intelligent and composed passing, leading to the second goal. It was a generally good shift from the Coco, impressive to say the least.
Add the Colombian to the unlucky list. He excelled with his passing and with his intelligent play as usual, but was very unfortunate to see his Robben-like goal attempts go slightly wide on multiple occasions, very very slightly wide. Either way, he was the real number 10, playing across the attack in different positions and lethally providing the attacking boost that the team so missed last week, and in the injury-ridden past few weeks.
Hummels was the better of the centre-back pairing this time, as he’s been in recent weeks. His tackling in one on one situations was impeccable, stopping play effortlessly and returning the ball to attack. Passing accuracy was precise as well, and all in all, it was a solid shift from Mats. He could improve (vastly) on his header accuracy though, as he gets into good positions in set-piece situations.
Javi Martinez has not put a foot wrong since Jupp Heynckes took over as boss. His passing accuracy and seldom crunching tackles enable the defense to play more confidently. He made such a crucial tackle today as well, preventing Bayern from conceding a goal earlier in the first half after a counterattack by Hannover.
Ulreich had a mixed bag, with a tentative approach to saving a Hannover one-on-one that cost the team a needless penalty. Luckily, both teams managed to enter into the box before the spot-kick was taken, and this led to a retaking of the penalty. Ulreich saved well on the second attempt, albeit the whole ordeal could have been avoided had Ulreich stepped up earlier to make the save. He conceded soon after from a corner kick, headed into the net by Charlison Benschop, Bayern’s first corner header conceded since February 2015.
Boateng’s long-ball magic is (almost) back. The centre-back delivered a few of his peach long passes in the box and to the wings, even when taking a slip. Again, his positional play was not very good, especially in counterattacking situations. His lack of speed causes him to always get caught chasing the ball.
Kimmich, much like Coman, endured a very average first period, but rejuvenated to life in the second. His crosses were back in full swing, along with his attacking grit. There wasn’t much for him to do in defense, as the centre-backs covered him in that regard as he delved forward.
Boy, was the Silver Fox unlucky? Firstly, he had a goal disallowed for offside in the first half, and afterwards he watched as his efforts either got saved, or crept past the post frustratingly. He was very involved however, even though he could have easily been on the scoresheet.
Rafinha was good defensively, but he did not replace David Alaba with the attacking prowess we have grown used to seeing on the left flank. Moreover, he was caught unaware a lot of times in defense, leaving his man unmarked at times. Fortuantely, Hannover were not clinical enough to capitalize on their chances, leaving Rafinha with very little to worry about.
The veteran was given a run-out to prep him for the PSG midweek game in the 87th minute. It was great to see, as he had been out for so long, and he looked sharp as expected with the few minutes he had. Great sight.
The Austrian also made his comeback, albeit similar to Ribéry’s with a few minutes. He was also positively energetic, giving a boost to Jupp Heynckes for his options in the busy month of December.
Starke, Friedl, Süle